Palestinians at the UN - Deadlock is oxygen for extremists

LESS than two weeks ago America and its friends — including Ireland — marked the tenth anniversary of the worst terrorist attack that country has faced.

Ten years after that outrageous, utterly unjustifiable attack America still pursues a policy that, to those with eyes to see, fed the extremism that led to American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 being crashed into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers.

Tomorrow, if Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas asks the UN Security Council to recognise a Palestinian state, America will oppose that legitimate aspiration and use its veto to block it, even if a majority of members support the proposal. At the same time they will insist that they are champions of democracy.

This unwavering — if no longer unquestioning — support of Israel no longer serves the best interests of Israel, of America, the Palestinians, or those of us committed to tolerance, social justice, the rule of law and peace. It does not even serve the interests of Zionism. It, whether America or Israel accept it or not, does as much to bolster the ranks of Middle East terror organisations as Margaret Thatcher’s as-British-as-Finchley silliness did to swell the ranks of the Provos.

Not only that but it has encouraged the most extreme Israelis to believe that they can continue to treat their Arab co-citizens in a way that would not be acceptable in any other democracy. How else can ethnic cleansing under the guise of “settlements” continue unchecked?

It helps create the kind of culture that allows an Islamist radio station in Somalia to award assault rifles and hand grenades to the winners of a children’s Koran recital competition. Andalus radio, run by the al-Shabab rebel militia, also gave the prizewinners religious books.

The hypocrisy of the situation is underlined by America’s support elsewhere, tacit or direct, for the Arab Spring where oppressed peoples are doing no more than rejecting governments who treat them as appallingly as Israel treats some of its Arab citizens.

This is not a black-and-white situation and Israel has suffered terribly at the hands of terrorist attacks too. Sadly, and anyone over 40 on this island can speak with a degree of authority on this, these attacks will continue as long as illegal colonisation, daily harassment of Arabs trying to get to their place of work and racism are endorsed and carried out by Israel.

Decades of talks have not brought the kind of change that would make the terrorists who carry out those attacks on Israel pariahs just as the North’s peace process has isolated those still intent on violence on this island.

Ireland has yet to take a stand on the Palestinian UN move and our diplomats might prefer to support an EU position because it would be far more influential.

Israel rejected overtures from President Barack Obama in the early days of his presidency, and as next year’s second-term election approaches he may defer to the powerful Israeli lobby rather than insist that this saga of terror and injustice be brought to an end as it must inevitably be some day.

Opposing the Palestinians’ plea for recognition to the UN — set up for the very purpose of arbitrating in international conflicts — will do nothing to bring that day any closer. It will only encourage extremism on one side and provoke it on the other.

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